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Spring cleaning and clean eating?

Here's a few recipes that make perfect light meals as winter slowly ebbs away

Have you started spring cleaning yet? I mean the kind that involves window washing and shampooing the rug.

There’s another kind of spring cleaning that we hear a lot about this time of year. It’s all the ado about cleansing or detoxifying. But do we really need to blow out our inner dust bunnies to get spring back in our step?

There’s absolutely no evidence our bodies need to be cleansed or detoxified, say dietitians. The liver, kidneys and intestine are doing this inner housekeeping year round.

“Our body is fully capable of ridding toxins on its own without doing a cleanse,” says Winnipeg-based registered dietitian Susan Watson.

The motivation most have for doing them is usually a “quick fix” mentality, she says.

“People start to feel bad about their lifestyle, or the foods they’ve eaten, and see this as a one-time fix for their bodies,” she says.

But it isn’t, and you do yourself no good if you aren’t making healthier dietary changes for the long term, she stresses. You may even do yourself some harm. Watson has had clients come to her after doing a cleanse that’s left their guts deficit of healthy bacteria it needs to digest properly. Then they can’t eat foods they previously tolerated.

“I’ve only seen people do destructive damage to their digestive system through detoxes,” she said.

The bottom line is there are far gentler ways to become healthier than doing a cleanse, says the dietitian who is a strong advocate for the uptake of a “clean eating” approach instead.

Clean eating simply means starting to eat more whole, unprocessed foods more often and pulling back from all those highly refined foods that can contain hidden sources of sugar and sodium in our diet.

“It’s about getting back to the basics, cooking from scratch, spending time planning and organizing your meals, and making sure your cupboards are full of healthy food items,” she said.

More from the Manitoba Co-operator website: Six meals by 16 years

Spicy Parsnip Soup

  • ​1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. oil1 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin seed
  • 2 c. sliced parsnips
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/2 – 3 c. chicken or vegetable stock

Sauté onion, garlic and pepper in oil until golden and caramelized. Remove two tbsp. onion mixture and set aside. Add curry powder and cumin and sauté one minute. Stir in parsnips and 2-1/2 cups stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until parsnips are tender, about 15 minutes. Purée mixture in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan and reheat to serving temperature. Thin soup with additional stock if mixture appears too thick. Add salt. Serve hot garnished with onion mixture. Soup may be prepared and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Do not freeze. Serves 6.

Source: ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Super Salmon Stix

  • 1⁄2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. wheat germ
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1-1/4 c. panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1-1/2 lbs. salmon fillet, cut into 1×3-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly spray canola oil cooking spray on a foil-lined baking sheet. In a shallow dish, combine whole wheat flour, wheat germ, chili powder and pepper. In a second shallow dish, combine egg whites, canola oil, and lemon juice. In a third shallow dish, mix together panko crumbs and lemon zest. Dip salmon sticks in flour mixture, then into egg mixture, and finally into panko crumbs. Place salmon sticks on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Do not overcook or fish will be dry. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Quick and Healthy Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy recipe collection. Heart and Stroke Foundation/Manitoba/Manitoba Canola Growers

Cobb Salad

A Cobb salad has so much to it you’ll be sure to please even the lightest or pickiest eater at the dinner table. The classic Cobb salad had its beginnings at Hollywood’s Brown Derby Restaurant in the 1920s when the restaurant manager, Bob Cobb, came up with it as a delicious way to use leftovers.

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen kernel corn
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced green onion
  • 8 c. torn romaine lettuce
  • 2 c. cubed cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 c. crumbled blue or feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. crumbled cooked bacon
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cubed
  • Thinly sliced green onion, optional

Melt butter in a medium frypan over medium heat. Add corn and sauté until lightly browned, about four to five minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. To prepare dressing, whisk together next six ingredients (yogurt through pepper) until combined. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Stir in 1/4 cup green onion. Place lettuce on a large serving dish. Top lettuce with corn, chicken, cheese, bacon, eggs and avocado, arranging toppings in rows. Sprinkle with additional green onion. Serve with dressing. Serves 4.

Source: ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

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